Daytona 24: Doran Racing race report

Feeds the Need/Doran Racing Kodak DORAN JE4 Ford Finishes Seventh in Rolex 24 at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 27 - The Feeds the Need/Doran Racing team started 15th, ran in the top 10 for the majority of the event, was as high as fourth ...

Feeds the Need/Doran Racing Kodak DORAN JE4 Ford Finishes Seventh in Rolex 24 at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 27 - The Feeds the Need/Doran Racing team started 15th, ran in the top 10 for the majority of the event, was as high as fourth at one point, and then finished seventh in the 45th annual Rolex 24 Saturday and Sunday at Daytona International Speedway with its Kodak DORAN JE4 Ford.

Memo Gidley of Novato, Calif. and Sherrills Ford, N.C. started and finished the event, while his co-drivers - Fabrizio Gollin of Castelfranco Veneto, Italy; Michel Jourdain Jr. of Huixguilucan, Mexico; and Oriol Servia of Pals, Catalonia, Spain and Miami - also performed well to seal up the solid finish for the Lebanon, Ohio-based team.

The team was never lower than 15th in the hourly standings, and it was always in the top 10 from the fourth hour on except for one hourly report that happened to occur around a pit stop.

It rained all night, sometimes lightly and sometimes heavily, but none of the Doran drivers had an accident. Some of their rivals weren't as lucky, and the race was red-flagged for about 90 minutes around 1 a.m. so the track crews could fix a guardrail that had been damaged so badly that it was deemed unsafe to continue without repairing it.

The FTN/Doran squad had two unscheduled trips to the garage area. The first was to replace a fitting on a wire to the alternator around 9 p.m. while Servia was driving. The second was for a new radiator after a stone was kicked up in the driving rain and punctured the original one. That happened around 3 a.m. while Gollin was at the wheel.

There was also one flat right-rear tire while Jourdain was driving and some issues with the brakes for all four drivers. In addition, both Servia and Gidley had spirited battles on Sunday with the only other Ford-powered Daytona Prototype in the field, the Finlay Motorsports Crawford. Servia's battle was with Michael McDowell, while Gidley's came at the very end when Michael Valiante was driving that car.

Still, all involved with the Kodak car preserved and they were rewarded with the fine seventh-place finish at the end out of the field of 70 entries. The Doran 77 finished on the same lap as the sixth-place car, the SAMAX Riley Pontiac, just 1.536-seconds behind.

Scott Pruett, Salvador Duran and Juan Pablo Montoya won the race with the TELMEX Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates No. 01.

Post-race quotes follow:

Memo Gidley: "I think it was a good run. We had a couple of issues that hurt us, but Kevin [Doran] made some good calls due to his experience.

"He did some really cool things.  For example, when we changed the radiator
he put brakes on the car too.  He definitely made some good calls.

"To win you have to come here and be fast and not have any mistakes; especially you can't have any mechanical problems.

"Our Ford motor ran great. It never missed a beat, and we ran it hard.

"I didn't have any real close calls, just banging into a few people a couple times.

"The last few hours were really fun because I could push as hard as possible. At the end of the day you feel exhausted because you know you've done something. To me that's fun."

Fabrizio Gollin: "It's always good to finish the 24 hours.

"We were unlucky when the stone broke the radiator. That happened when I was in the car. It was a racing situation and it was raining hard. There was a lot of water everywhere and the stone just got kicked up and hit us at the wrong place.

"The guys did a great job. I think this team had the potential to win the race if we would have had no problems.

"Kevin's strategy, the guys on the crew and my teammates were very good. I'm very happy to have had this opportunity to be with these great drivers. It was really a dream team."

Michel Jourdain Jr.: "It was fantastic to finish the race; that's a good accomplishment.

"If I had to pick out one thing that I'll remember about this race, it would be waking up in the middle of the night and hearing no noise. That was really weird.

"The team is great. Kevin and his guys do a fantastic job. I really hope I can race with him again. He deserves to win this race again, and I want to do it for him."

Oriol Servia: "My first Rolex 24 was great. It was my first 24-hour race ever, and it was a great result. We never expected to have the speed to win this weekend, but we ran well, and without a few little problems we would have done even better.

"The battery or alternator problem costs us three laps. The rock in the radiator was just bad luck.

"I was very happy with the whole experience. The drivers and the team performed very well. A top five would have been nice, but I'm proud of our results with the financial backing we have right now.

"This race had everything though. I drove in the night and in the day; in the rain and in the dry; I had battles and I had lonely times. It was so complete. It's a whole different mentality than Champ Car, but it was a great way to start the year."

Kevin Doran: "We had three unscheduled mess-ups. The first was when Marc Goossens blocked us in the pit box for our first pit stop. He very aggressively and in my opinion in an unsportsmanlike way drove alongside of us, and that was our first minute lost.

"Then we had a problem with an alternator wire about two laps before a pace car yellow. We were able to have the driver go directly to the garage and we made the repair quickly, but that cost us four laps.

"Then we were only two laps off the lead in fifth place I think when a stone made its way through the screening and punctured the radiator. We were fortunate that we could do that on a yellow too, but we drove down to the pit box first before we were able to identify the problem and know that we had to go back to the garage. It's kind of hard to identify a water leak in the rain. Changing the radiator took six laps.

"I was very pleased with our engine. We ran quite a few more miles on this engine than we intended. We had to use our race engine for qualifying because of an accident on Thursday that actually damaged our qualifying engine. We ran an extra 100 miles on our race engine than we'd planned to run, but then there was the red during the race due to heavy rain and fixing the guardrail, so in the end it all balanced out.

"The Ford engine is really durable. It's a strong package. You really never have any questions on a Ford engine's reliability.

"The car is hardly scratched. It's always been a very durable car. It's reasonably quick. We missed some set-up time due to the problem on Thursday that would have served us well, but it's still a solid run."

-credit: doran racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Doran Racing